I try to be involved as much as I can in the activism world, especially with the current political climate. Activism is my way of regaining power and an expression of who I am as a disabled black woman who has also battled with a very unfair and biased UK immigration system for 15 years as an Asylum seeker. I'm pleased that my journey seeking refuge in the UK finally came to a positive end but it was a brutal, hellish journey of being reduced to a sub-human in so many ways. I would sum this journey as "That of being in limbo, often crippling in many ways more than living with my own disability, literally!"
You see, I wasn't always the strong one. Through my personal journey, I have sometimes felt most vulnerable, unworthy and small. But as I got more and more involved I realised that I'm much more than the voices I hear within and outside myself. I also discovered that there was not much accessible activism. Disabled people were often totally forgotten and I found myself in the midst of inaccessible activism screaming "we are here, include us, we exist!" I was also very discouraged by the lack of discussion about the oppressions disabled people face, especially disabled refugee women & poor people.
Ableism is real, and we need to talk about it. But more importantly, we need to pass the damn mic to some disabled voices when discussing ableism. After all, I couldn't sit by and do nothing; I made a conscious decision to get involved in activism. It's my way of making sure people know that we exist and are the biggest minority yet most ignored, i.e. 20% of world's population are living with a disability; that’s over 1.3 billion humans.
You are more likely to acquire a disability in your lifetime. The fact that disabled people are often an after-thought and excluded from participation in society, and that most public spaces have so many structural, physical barriers says a lot about how we have failed as a people. Why should we beg for basic human rights (shelter, getting around, medical attention etc)? I've got the same rights to activism as any able-bodied activist and my voice and story matters. It's about making sure we finally start hearing disabled voices talk about issues that affect us, especially those who are Refugees and Asylum seekers, disabled, women, poor, and Muslim. I only hope that you'll stand with me in including disabled people in activism.